Greek Fries with Homemade Mastiha Scented Ketchup

  • 1 can whole tomatoes in purée (28-oz/800 gr.)

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped

  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste

  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • ½ cup light red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano

  • Grating of nutmeg

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 tsp. salt pounded with 1 tsp. Mastiha crystals

  • Potatoes, peeled and cut into thick pieces, roughly the size of a woman’s index finger

  • Olive oil for frying

  • Salt

  1. Make the ketchup, up to a week ahead: Purée the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot and cook the onion over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring. Add and simmer, uncovered, until very thick, about 1 hour. Stir frequently towards the end, to keep it from scorching.

  2. Remove the cinnamon stick. Purée ketchup in 2-3 batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Let stand until it cools to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours or up to 1 week (the ketchup may be made ahead).

  3. Make the fries: Blot the potato pieces dry. Heat about an inch (2,5 cm) of olive oil in a large heavy skillet and drop as many potatoes as will fit in one layer in the pan. Cover and sweat in the oil over low heat until the potatoes begin to turn golden. Remove the cover, raise the heat to high, and carefully turn the potatoes, preferably one piece at a time, continuously until they are a beautiful golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and continue until all the potatoes are fried. Serve sprinkled with salt and with the Mastiha ketchup on the side or on top.